Answer: Three to five years would be the normal range for rotation of tomatoes, with five being better but rather difficult in a small garden. Here is an example of a rotation.
Divide the garden into three areas, A, B, and C. Tomatoes would be planted in part A the first year, part B the second year and part C the third year. In year four, tomatoes would be planted in part A again. Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers should be considered together as a group for rotation purposes because they suffer from many of the same problems. Since there are other vegetables that also should be rotated such as the cucmber/squash/pumpkin/melon group, this works out rather well.
The distance between the areas is not that important because the rotation is aimed at avoiding a build up of soil borne problems and allowing time to rebuild the soil thoroughly between crops. A good fall cleanup routine helps with other problems such as insects and diseases or fungal infections that could be transmitted via old plant residues.
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